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Wednesday,26-January-2022

International

Bouncy Gabba pitch could be the right place for my secret delivery: Nathan Lyon

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Nathan Lyon, who will play his 100th Test match at The Gabba from Friday, says he will get more assistance from the Gabba wicket as it has more bounce than Sydney or Melbourne and could help him bring out his secret delivery on the fifth day of the Test match against India.

The off-spinner also said that the slow Sydney wicket did not allow him to bring the secret delivery during the drawn third Test.

“This summer has been challenging with obviously playing against India again. They have come up with plans to combat me. But to be honest I am quite happy with the way I have been bowling. I have been able to create some chances which has been really positive…but some days the wheel doesn’t turn around and you don’t have much luck in the middle,” said Lyon while speaking to the media in a virtual interaction on Wednesday.

“I am very happy the way they are coming out of hand and I am confident and excited to get here at Gabba where there will be a bit more bounce than what was at the MCG and SCG, definitely SCG anyway. I am excited that if I keep doing my job then luck will keep changing here and there. I just got to stay patient…Who knows I could bring (secret delivery) on Day 5 if we happen to be bowling. It is still coming…keep watching.”

About the Sydney wicket, he said, “It would have been nice to have a big footmark…but I was still able to get spin here and there out of it. The wicket was a bit slow and we couldn’t capitalise on our chances.”

The 33-year-old added that he is far from done and is hungry for more matches. He wants to continue playing for well beyond 100 Test matches.

“When I finish my career, I will be able to sit down with smile on my face — sort of gave my all. This is my 100th. But I am far from being done in my eyes. I am more hungry than ever. I want to go and play as much cricket for Australia and win more matches,” he said.

“(But) not look too far ahead and try and take each and every day with a smile on your face. Mike Hussey gave me that piece of advice before I bowled my first ball. He said, come up and play with a smile on your face, you will hopefully relax a bit. Punter (Ricky Ponting) said in the first game ‘just back your skill’.

“There have been some highs and lows. You look at the Adelaide Test in 2014, that was one of the biggest highs in my career and then you look at Edgbaston, amazing high, you come to Leeds, you come down the ladder, so that is something amazing about Test cricket. It is amazing ride. There have been lots of ups and down in my career,” Lyon added.

The off-spinner said that he would be talking to his personal spin coach John Davison, who is currently with Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash. The bio-secure environment hasn’t allowed Lyon to see him during the ongoing series. But Lyon says he will speak to him like he does after every match.

“I will contact him anyway. I usually contact him after every Test and have a conversation. He is the best spin coach at the moment. I will touch base with him and nail down a couple of little things — regarding the pitch, need to adapt,” he said before adding that he is being ably guided by team captain Tim Paine and batsman Steve Smith.

“I think I have played enough cricket to know what I need to do. That is the beauty of having Tim Paine and Steve Smith around the bat there as well. Obviously, they are very talented. They have passed a lot of knowledge from when Smith was batting against (Ravichandran) Ashwin to Paine keeping against me.”

Lyon will become the 13th Australian to play 100 Test matches. He joins an elite league that comprises Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Allan Border, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath among others. Lyon says he still can’t believe it.

“It has been very exciting because I look at the 12 guys to have played 100 Test matches. They are pure legends in my eyes not just for CA but all around the world. I am going to pinch myself each and every day to see my name against those fellows. It is pretty amazing,” he said.

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Malinga set to take over as Sri Lanka’s fast bowling consultant: Report

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Former Sri Lankan pace bowler Lasith Malinga is set to become the fast bowling consultant coach of the national cricket team after the high-profile Cricket Advisory Committee recommended his name to Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) Executive Committee.

The 38-year-old Malinga, who played for more than a decade for Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians, will oversee the Sri Lankan team’s preparations for the upcoming T20I tour of Australia, where the side will play five matches, a report in the The Island said on Wednesday.

While Malinga is one of the most successful T20 bowlers in the world due to his sling-shot action and is a Sri Lankan icon, his appointment has reportedly not gone down well with several stakeholders of the game in the country.

The report said that while he was adored by millions of fans, “he wasn’t the most likeable person in the dressing room with a host of Sri Lankan captains having concerns about his conduct”.

“It is alleged that Malinga deliberately slowed down the over rate with the intention of suspending the captain, an allegation that SLC has not investigated. Cricket’s playing conditions at one point dictated that slow over rates would result in fines for players and suspension for the captain. Since then, the International Cricket Council has amended the playing conditions and the captain is no longer suspended,” the report added.

Sri Lanka lifted the ICC T20 World Cup in 2014 under Malinga’s captaincy, as he was filling in for the suspended Dinesh Chandimal, but his overall record as skipper is abysmal. He led the country in nine One-day Internationals and all nine ended in losses. Under his leadership, Sri Lanka lost 15 of the 24 T20Is it played.

The report said that the Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising of stalwarts such as Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva and Muttiah Muralitharan among others, had their reservations on endorsing Malinga as fast bowling consultant coach. However, since the recommendation reportedly came from former skipper and consultant coach Mahela Jayawardene, it could not be denied, the report said.

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Afghanistan complete whitewash to grab crucial Cricket World Cup Super League points

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Afghanistan completed a 3-0 series victory over the Netherlands to grab 30 crucial World Cup Super League points, here on Tuesday.

Half-centuries from Najibullah Zadran and debutant Riaz Hassan and a three-wicket haul from another debutant Qais Ahmad helped Afghanistan to a 75-run win, setting up a 3-0 series victory in the ODI series.

After deciding to bat first, Afghanistan were driven by 19-year old opener Riaz on debut. The Netherlands managed to send back the centurion from the last game, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, for 12, but Riaz and Rahmat Shah put on an 86-run partnership to revive the innings.

Once Saqib Zulfiqar broke the partnership by sending back Riaz, the Netherlands managed another wicket soon with Rahmat dismissed in the 33rd over. Najibullah Zadran compiled a fine half-century with aid from the lower middle-order. Najibullah finished on 71 off 59 balls as Afghanistan made 254/5 in their 50 overs.

In reply, the Netherlands made a strong start with Scott Edwards once again leading the charge. Colin Ackermann gave him solid company and the duo thwarted Afghanistan’s new ball plans. Their 50 came up in 10 overs with the openers laying a solid platform.

They carried on in the same vein, putting on 103 for the opening wicket before Afghanistan’s debutant Qais broke the stand with his maiden ODI wicket, that of Edwards, trapped in front by the leg-spinner. Fareed Ahmad sent back skipper Pieter Seelaar for a duck and Afghanistan had the opportunity to put a leash on the chase.

The spinners worked in tandem and soon the Netherlands went from 103/0 to 153/5 with Boris Gorlee, Bas de Leede and the well-set Colin Ackermann, who made 81 off 96 balls, also back in the hut. The tables had turned around at this stage and Afghanistan were right on top in the game. They went on to bowl out the Netherlands for 179 to seal a 75-run victory and secure a series whitewash.

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Australia to tour Pakistan with a full-strength squad, says George Bailey

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Chief selector George Bailey on Tuesday confirmed that no Australian player has asked to be left out of the squad that is set to embark on their first tour of Pakistan since 1999.

Bailey added that the selection will be solely based on managing their workload.

“I believe the boards are still working through some of the minor details around that tour, so once that gets the formal tick of approval then we’ll announce the squad post that, but we’re reasonably well down the track,” Bailey was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia’s website.

“The two (security) briefings that I’ve sat in on, the security sounds very, very robust.”

The tour is set to start on March 3. It will consist of three Test matches to be played in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore and will be followed by a three-match ODI series from March 29 to April 2. A lone T20I will be played on April 5.

The last time Pakistan had an ICC event on its soil was when it co-hosted the 1996 World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka. The terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 ensured Test cricket remained out of bounds until 2019.

In 2020, before the T20 World Cup, New Zealand and England had pulled out of the tour of Pakistan citing security concerns.

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